Scientists continue to search for clues to causes of Gulf War Syndrome

(SNNTV) – Twenty-five years after the last troops returned from the Gulf War, veterans are still suffering from Gulf War Syndrome.

Almost 700,000 troops deployed during the Gulf War, and according to the national academy of sciences, close to 250,000 show signs of Gulf War Illness.

According to Dr. Andrew Keegan of the Roskamp Institute, “A number of them, anywhere from 25 to even 50 percent of people can come back with this syndrome of symptoms. They can have trouble with pain in their joints; they can have trouble with their mood, their cognition, a lot of fatigue.”

While the symptoms are known, the cause of Gulf War Illness remains a mystery. Roskamp Institute’s Dr. Keegan says their research is looking at potential causes.

“We’re trying to find why this may be occurring so then we can come up with treatments. Currently there is really no treatment; people use anti-depressants, they use pain medications, but if we can get to the underlying ideology. Then we can focus on a treatment that’s specific for this disorder.”

Helping with the research is simple.

“We have people coming in just for one visit where they have some blood drawn, they do some memory testing, and they talk about their experience in the Gulf War, so it’s a fairly straightforward study because it’s that one visit, one day.

“We’re even looking for people that went to the Gulf War 1990-1991 and don’t have any symptoms because we’re trying to see what’s different from them. What reaction and change in their blood is different from those that actually have the syndrome.”

So, maybe over 25 years later, specialized treatments could be an option for gulf war veterans.

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